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Remove the Standard Cyborg Module


jackfractal

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It does nothing very well. When I see it played, it's almost always by new players who have never played cyborg before and they end up confused as to why it can't actually do anything.


For those wondering what tools the standard cyborg ends up with, here's the list:


- flashlight

- flash

- stun baton

- fire extinguisher

- wrench

- crowbar

- health analyzer


It's a newbie trap more than anything and it serves no purpose. It also goes against the design ethos for cyborgs, which is to trade the versatility of a crew-member, for efficiency at a specific task. Without a specific task, the 'standard' cyborg does nothing.

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I suspect that, were we to log module selection results, the standard cyborg would be... less then half a percent? Less then a tenth of a percent?


People play two modules: Engineering and Security. You sometimes (very rarely) see Janitorial, Mining, or one of the two Medical models.


That's it.


Either the Standard Cyborg should be given a task that they are actually good at, or they should be removed. I tried to come up with a task that could be considered 'Standard', but any task I came up with that wasn't covered by the other modules would have required a name change.


Even if that weren't the case, it is a newbie trap and I think we should prioritize assisting newbies over supporting a rare play-style.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

I agree. My first playthroughs as borg were very confusing and unsatisfying as default borgs. Now I just do nothing but AI itself, or medical because the model with 4 arms is creepy and I like being a creepy robot.

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Pros of removing Standard Model:


-New players may not be confused when they choose it.


Cons of removing Standard Model:


-No general utility borgs.

-Loss of perfectly good content.

-People who play Standard will be pissed.

-Characters who use Standard will be ruined.


I could probably think of more, but I rest my case.


Just because you don't find any use in something doesn't mean it should be removed for everyone. I've met quite a few players who played Standard exclusively. They are most certainly not useless, as they can do pretty much anything to some degree, aren't bound to a specific department, and have a lot more time to RP.


I spent the first half of my time playing here just playing a Standard Android because darnit that was one of the most enjoyable experiences I had, and I was useful to everyone, not just a few people in one department. Removing a feature for the sake of removing a feature is pointless and destructive. Nobody gains anything at all, except a few people who might accidentally use it and have to, *gasp*, find some way to be useful creatively and roleplay.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

If 'standard model' is sacred, why don't we just rename it?


'generic model'

'outdated model'

'Misc usage'

'synthetic assistant'

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No need to fix what isn't broken.

All jobs can be scary to start with and people will select the wrong thing sometimes, when I first started playing SS13 I picked HoP, had no idea what I was doing. Got treated exactly the same as any new player.


I don't see a reason to remove it.

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I personally like Generic Model and Synthetic Assistant the best out of those. They would make the model pretty much what it says on the tin.



And it's not a matter of being sacred, it's a matter of... Why would you remove something that works exactly how it was intended, enjoyed by a few players, and is perfectly good coding... Just because it annoyed someone?


What are we, EA?

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No need to fix what isn't broken.

 

While the Standard module does technically function, in that it doesn't prevent compilation and it doesn't throw run-time errors it is still broken. It's code is fine, it's the design which is where the problem is, both in it's own right (it is very bad at doing things) but also in how it relates to the broader topic of cyborg design as a whole.


The axiom I have been told for cyborg design, and the one that appears to be partially born out by the other modules, is that cyborgs are designed for a particular purpose, and from a game-play perspective, the player of a cyborg trades the autonomy and versatility that they would get as a regular crew-member for mastery of a particular task.


"Assisting" is not a specific task, it requires versatility, which is the thing that cyborgs are not supposed to have. Assuming that the axiom that I mentioned above is true, there should be no 'general purpose' cyborgs, because cyborgs are supposed to be built for a particular task.


Assume the situation were reversed. If the Standard module didn't exist, what would be the argument for including it?

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I don't understand why somebody would want to remove something that:

  • People do play regularly enough
  • People enjoy playing
  • Has a purpose on the station if the player applies it correctly
  • Works completely fine and has been a part of the codebase for a long time
  • Could be a great starting point for new players

 

That's sort of like removing the ability to use a shower as a makeshift cryo pod. It's rarely used, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

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I don't understand why somebody would want to remove something that:

  • People do play regularly enough
  • People enjoy playing
  • Has a purpose on the station if the player applies it correctly
  • Works completely fine and has been a part of the codebase for a long time
  • Could be a great starting point for new players

 

That's sort of like removing the ability to use a shower as a makeshift cryo pod. It's rarely used, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

 

Why remove it? Because the reasons I've outlined.


It's very bad at almost everything. It is an awful place for a new player to start, as they are unable to do nearly all tasks and it doesn't 'work fine', as it's design cannot be assessed because it doesn't even fit within the design framework for other cyborg modules.


The only point I'll give you is that people may like to play it, but like I said, I think the amount it's played is very rare. We have no hard data on this, just anecdotes. I'd like to put a module selection logger into the code so that in future discussions like this, we can talk about what is really going on in terms of play population.


The real issue with the Standard module is that it doesn't fit the design pattern for other cyborg modules. This makes it very hard to assess whether it's 'working' or not.


The design goal for cyborg modules appears to be 'cyborgs trade versatility and freedom of action for the ability to do one job very well'.


If we use that design goal as a lens through which we look at the existing modules, we can assess whether a module is working correctly.


Lets try this out.


Can the janitor module be considered 'good' under this pattern? Yes, it can. We can look at it and say 'It is very good at cleaning, but lacks the ability to do anything else'. If it had, for example, a laser gun, we could say 'Hmm. This laser gun doesn't help with cleaning, which is it's assigned task, therefore, the laser gun should be removed.'


We can also look at, say, the medical modules. Are they 'good' when looked at through this lens? After looking at them, we can determine that, no, they are not. They lack the ability to do the job they're supposed to do, due to their inability to use medical machinery, and their weirdly distributed tools (no ability to handle toxin damage).


So, you can see, by comparing a module's current abilities to our design goals, we can determine if a specific module is doing what it's supposed to do, and whether it requires modification.


What happens if we try to assess the Standard module? Well we fail on first principles. "What is the Standard cyborg's job?"


It doesn't have one. It sorta goes around helping people, but not very well because it's not actually very good at anything.


That means we can't assess it. We can't determine if it should or should not have a laser gun because we don't know what the perimeters of it's task is. We can't even begin to assess this module because it doesn't fit within our design goals. Its like trying to assess a fork, when you're trying to design a pair of scissors.


When this happens, it means one of two things, either the thing you're trying to assess is inapplicable in some fundamental way, or your design goals are not setup properly.


I think our design goals, as I outlined them, are fine, but I'm willing to admit that I might be wrong.


Does anyone have a set of design goals for cyborg modules that lets us assess cyborg modules without a specific task, in a way that is also useful for cyborg modules with specific tasks?

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I don't know what your experience as a standard module was, Jackfractal, but people are telling you they are not useless. They can do pretty much anything well enough, and it's their job to determine what they do. If you can't think of anything to do as one, or can't see any way that they can be used, that's your own problem. That does not warrant removing it entirely.


And to analyze the standard module as you outlined before:


What does the standard module do?

Provides a more RP-centric role.

Can easily work in any department.

Has the versatility to be utilized by anyone.

Can serve any purpose it is applied to without it being strange.


And so on.


Now, if we correlate all of these, what does it seem like the intended design is? A versatile, general purpose robot. So, analyzing it again from that standpoint;


What does the standard module do?

Serves any purpose it is assigned to.


Do its tools help in this regard?

Yes, all of them.




It is not bad because you couldn't play it.

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Roleplay isn't just about doing work, or doing a job. You don't need to do anything to make good roleplay.

Just because you don't see what it can be used for is not a reason to remove it. It's clear you have a love for cyborgs, but just because you don't find good or fun in something about them does not mean someone else won't.


The cyborgs job is to be a cyborg, be a machine that is built for some purpose, that purpose can be decided by the player not the mechanics. If a player wants to be an engineering borg they can, if they want to be a medical borg they can, if they want to be limited by being outdated or with minimal equipment, they can.


What is this design pattern you are talking about, because no one has ever spoken to me about it in all my time being here. It seems to me like it's your design pattern that you are trying to place on to us.

 

The only point I'll give you is that people may like to play it, but like I said, I think the amount it's played is very rare.

This can be applied to a lot of things in the game, the nuke in the vault, the chaplain, Internal Affairs Agent, money lotto, money, electrical storms, escape pods, just to name a few.

It is an awful place for a new player to start

So are most jobs without a little bit of research, most people who go for cyborgs are normally players who have been playing for a while.

In fact the amount of new players that choose cyborg and get confused about the default module matches the above quote, rare.

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Hold on. Everyone is attacking Jack's reasoning as if he simply didn't enjoy playing a round as the model.


He is our synthetic lore dev and is looking at it objectively to help determine why it even exists compared to the use of other synthetics. I agree with his sights from a lore PoV. Look at what he's saying. NT gets cyborgs/androids/robots that serve a purpose well. Those borgs are never very good at much else. All borgs have a generic flash to help protect crew, but outside of that their tools allow them to solely perform their assigned tasks. The standard model acts in a capacity that can't do anything particularly well due to a lack of tool versatility. Sure, it might have this or that, but does is have other items that compliment them to complete a job? A engiborg has all the tools. A medibot has several medical items at their disposal. What it does have is a suite of tools that allow it to force doors, beat people, put out the rare fire, and unbolt a few things. Oh, it can also alert medical is someone seems injured via a health analyzer that it has to wave around at everyone. All of this seems scattered.


They don't really do much of anything well be default, so why would NT allow them on a station? I'm not saying it should be removed no question because I understand people enjoying the module. I'm saying at least understand Jack's points.


I agree, as well, that a player can find a way to make the module useful. And I'm sure enough players play it as a regular character that they don't want to see it go. That said, I'm down to rename it. Make it sound less "typical" for a new player.

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@Critsy


It's not a matter of 'what does it do' it's a matter of 'what is it's job'. They're not the same thing.


Thank you for your analysis, but I'm not sure I can find a way to make it useful given the design goals I outlined in my other posts. I mean, 'provide a more rp-centric role' isn't a job like "fix atmospheric breaches", "clean the station" or "detain lawbreakers" are. Neither is 'work easily in any department'.


I think I may be failing to communicate here. The 'job' in my design goals refers to a specific task within the station. It does not refer to another design goal, which is what 'provide a more rp-centric role' would be.


The job has to be specific, in order to work.


Trying to slot 'versatility' into the 'job' part of my design goals, doesn't work, when what you're trying to balance against is a reduction of versatility. That's axiomatic. That's why I asked for someone to describe an alternative set of design goals for cyborgs without a specific task, because the design goals that I'm working off of make such a goal invalid. It literally does not compute.


If you're saying that the point of the Standard cyborg is to '[serve] any purpose it is assigned to', I have to remind you that all cyborgs, regardless of starting module, can work in any department. They simply need to go to robotics and get their module swapped to that of their assigned task. If they later need to work in another department, they can get their module switched to that new department as well. Module reset boards are cheap, fast to build, available from round-start, and take about ten seconds to install.


As that is the case, and your primary argument seems to be 'they are designed to work anywhere', then I propose that any cyborg can already do everything that you're saying that the Standard module is designed to do, with the added bonus of actually being good at the job they've been asked to do, once they've switched to the right module.


So, the design space that you're saying the Standard module is supposed to exist in, is entirely overlapped by that of the existing capabilities of all cyborgs. That seems to me to be a further argument for their removal.


@Alberyk. You are right. The energy sword is extremely badass.


@Scopes:

 

What is this design pattern you are talking about, because no one has ever spoken to me about it in all my time being here. It seems to me like it's your design pattern that you are trying to place on to us.

 

It is not something I am trying to impose. It is a formalization of how the design goals for cyborgs have been described to me in the past, including on this very server.


Why can't cyborgs have hands? That would make them too versatile. They're already really strong 'cause they can go in space, have all access, and don't need to breathe. Gotta balance that.


Why do engineering cyborgs have RCD's and why do security cyborgs have recharging tasers? Because they don't have hands! They need to be good at their job because they lack the ability to do anything else.


I have had a lot of discussions about cyborg design over the years and there are very clear arguments for things that I have encountered repeatedly. My design statement 'Cyborgs trade versatility and freedom of action for the ability to do one job very well.' is a distillation of dozens of conversations about how cyborgs should be designed.


If you disagree with that statement, and you have a different but clear set of guidelines for doing module design, please tell me, and I'll use those instead.

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Good then we adjust, we don't remove.

My view on a the default module is a basic assistant, not one with access to loads of tools, the basic cheap model that is more than a keycard. Able to search for people, pass messages, go on expeditions, look out for welbeing of the crew, drag things around for people, or just be the second eyes for the AI. All without having to worry about medical, security, engineering, or mining dutys.


No man is useless while he has a friend. -Robert Louis Stevenson

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I think we should maybe talk real-time about this, because again, I feel like I'm not communicating clearly. I like your design idea for the Standard module, but you haven't provided a design goal for cyborg modules as a whole that can properly encompass what you're describing in a way that remains coherent with the designs for other modules.


And... all of the other modules can already do all of the things your describing as primary tasks for the Standard module. Often better. What you're describing is something that has no functionality beyond that of a cyborg without a module.


The only thing that it would have would be a lack of formal responsibilities, and if you don't want formal responsibilities, why not play Service? I think most of the things that people play Standard for, especially the role-playing opportunities, are better served by the Service module.


That's why I want to expand the Service module so it can be a bit more functional. What if we smooshed the two together? We could merge Service and Standard into... "Helper" or something?

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Yeah, hi. My name is Contextual, and I recently started playing cyborg. Rather, Android. Regardless, I have not played it before, so I started with what seemed like the best introductory model--being, Standard. And holy shit, it was wonderful--it can literally do anything it is asked to do to some degree, short of busting rocks.


Even now, having played all the modules, I find the Standard module to be the best because it is the only one that actually has a personality and isn't a service borg. (By the way, where do Service borgs fit in your little design pattern?)


All the modules cubbyhole, shoehorn roleplay and ability into a tiny box, whereas the standard module can fill any need. Whether it's assisting science with literally anything, helping security enforce the law, conducting EVA maneuvers to assist Engineering, dragging crates around cargo, monitoring lifesigns of wounded, or just talking with people. They can do anything, but they can't do any one job start to finish--rather, they exist and perform as assistants. AKA, the design of them encourages interaction with people, literally anyone. It's just fantastic.

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